Kentucky Supreme Court briefs filed in executive order case

Published: Aug. 29, 2020 at 10:30 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -The legal battle over the governor’s response to COVID-19 will soon come to a head.

The Supreme Court is set to decide Sept. 17 on the legality of the actions Governor Andy Beshear has taken to fight the virus.

In a brief filed Friday night, Attorney General Daniel Cameron called Gov. Beshear’s executive orders unlawful.

The state’s chief legal officer came down on Beshear’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis writing that it “has destroyed the livelihoods of countless Kentuckians.”

In a press conference on July 13, Cameron commented on the issue.

“I have a duty to uphold the constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth on behalf of all citizens,” he said. “That’s what we’ve tried to do, we’ve tried to strike that right balance.”

He argued that while Beshear may have had good intentions, he did not follow procedure.

“I’m not opposed to the wearing of the mask....this is just a matter of whether it can be mandated,” Cameron said.

Beshear said the Kentucky Constitution does enable him to put rules in place that protect citizens during a public health crisis.

“These are emergency powers that are provided by the legislature to the governor to respond in a time like this,” he said during a COVID update on July 17.

Cameron has said previously that he offered his help to the governor in implementing regulations, but was denied.

“We would like to have some communication with the governor prior to the orders that he’s put forth...I think as the chief legal officer, it would be good for the governor’s office to communicate with us.”

Beshear said without rules, Kentuckians would be living in a wild west.

“Without any rules, because every state has them, that two weeks from now we would’ve seen a major proliferation of cases and we know more cases means more death,” he said.

Cameron’s team compares Kentucky’s higher death rate to Tennessee and South Dakota, where restrictions were more lax.

Beshear’s team said his emergency measures successfully flattened the curve.

Cameron said the governor overstepped, “micromanaging nearly every aspect of Kentuckians’ everyday lives.”

Ultimately, the Kentucky Supreme Court judges will gavel down on whether the governor went by the book.

It’s not known when the Supreme Court will announce its decision. The judges will hear from both parties at 10 a.m. Sept. 17.

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